Former Minneapolis Officer Kim Potter Found Guilty on Manslaughter Charges

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A jury found Kim Potter, the former Minnesota police officer who said she mistakenly thought her gun was a Taser, guilty on two manslaughter counts on Wednesday.

Potter, a former Brooklyn Center police officer, pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree manslaughter charges in connection to the death of Daunte Wright, which sparked protests and violent riots earlier this year. Potter said she mistakenly took her pistol for a Taser when she shot Wright in April.

The jury, comprised of six men and six women, spent over 26 hours deliberating before rendering the decision.

Potter, 49, will face a sentence of about seven years under state guidelines, though prosecutors have said they will seek more.

During closing arguments, prosecutors accused Potter of a “blunder of epic proportions” in Wright’s death in an April 11 traffic stop—but said a mistake was no defense.

But the former officer’s attorneys countered that Wright, who was attempting to get away from officers as they sought to handcuff him for an outstanding warrant on a weapons charge, “caused the whole incident.”

Potter, who was not able to compose herself, last week took to the stand and testified that she “didn’t want to hurt anybody” and that she was “sorry it happened.”

This week, speculation emerged that the jury may be deadlocked after jurors asked Judge Regina Chu about reaching a consensus.

Bodycamera footage of the shooting was shown several times throughout the trial, showing Potter, who sounded distraught. “Oh my God!” Potter later cried as another officer consoled her. “Holy [expletive], I just shot him,” she’s heard yelling.

The footage also showed Potter yelling “Taser” repeatedly before she shot Wright during the traffic stop.

Potter’s defense lawyer, Earl Gray, told jurors that Potter had a clean record, was a “good cop,” and is a “law-abiding person.”

“She made a mistake, and, my gosh, a mistake is not a crime,” Gray told jurors, according to live footage of the trial.

By Jack Phillips

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